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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Official Rules of Hookie-Mookie

Aviva and Noah and I have been working on a collaborative card game for a few months now, and this past weekend on vacation with my in-laws in a cottage in the French countryside near Cormatin, we finally got it right. This version is elegant and exciting.

Hookie-Mookie Official Rules

Hookie-Mookie is a collaborative card game for two to four players, using a regular 52-card poker deck. The players play together against the deck.


To begin, each player is dealt a HAND of seven cards, which only that player may look at. A GHOST HAND of 5 cards is also dealt, and put aside, face down. These cards are removed from the game. The remaining cards form the DECK.


The object of the game is for at least one player to be able to empty his or her HAND, before the DECK runs out. If this is accomplished, the humans win; if the DECK runs out first, the cards win.

For a three or four player game, you may want to require that two or three players are able to empty their HANDs.


Players may not discuss the contents of their hands, or their intended actions, at any time.

The player with the longest hair begins. Each player's turn must consist of one of two actions: a MOOKIE or a HOOKIE.


A MOOKIE consists of playing a valid set of cards from the player's hand onto the table, face up. The player may play any number of such sets during one MOOKIE. There are two kinds of valid actions in a MOOKIE -- uuseläge and druufläge. In uuseläge, the player plays a set of 3 or 4 matching cards -- for instance, three queens. In druufläge, the player adds cards from his or her hand to an existing set which is lying face up on the table (which may have come from a HOOKIE or a MOOKIE). For instance, in one MOOKIE, a player could lay out three kings, lay out three sevens, and add a queen to a set of two queens already face-up on the table.

If the player cannot lay out any cards for a valid MOOKIE, the player must perform a HOOKIE.

(Note that once all four cards of a given value have been laid out, the set may be cleared away for clarity's sake.)


For a HOOKIE, the player chooses one partner from the other players present (in a two player game, there is obviously only one choice), by saying his or her name. Each of the two players in the HOOKIE then chooses one card from his or her own HAND and lays it face-down before him or her on the table. The players count together in French, "un... deux... trois!" and on "trois", they flip their cards over. If the cards match, they stay on the table and form a successful set (which may be added to via MOOKIE, above). If the cards differ, they are returned to the same players' hands, and as a PENALTY, the player whose turn it is draws an additional two cards, and his or her partner draws an additional card.


The game hinges on keeping track of what the other players have in their hands, and intuiting what they are likely to play in the HOOKIE.

By convention, players begin a first HOOKIE with their highest card, and the player whose turn it is offers a card which he or she recently saw his or her partner offer.


To make the game easier:

  • the number of cards in the ghost hand may be reduced
  • the penalty may be reduced to one card for each partner (instead of two for the player who announced the HOOKIE, and one for the partner)
  • Jokers may be added to the deck; these match any card successfully in either HOOKIE or MOOKIE

To make the game harder:
  • the number of cards in the ghost hand may be increased
  • the penalty may be increased

Posted by benrosen at August 4, 2010 07:17 AM | Up to blog

This is terrific! Here's the question: can it be played co-competitively as well? That is, a player can win, but it's possible for everyone to lose? I've been thinking for a long time about trying to design a co-competitive game, and I've never really run across one that I thought quite fit the bill.

Posted by: Dan Percival at August 5, 2010 11:32 PM

I think it might indeed lend itself to that, because in principle one player always has to be out of cards first, so you could consider them the winner. I don't know what that would be like phenomenologically... try it and let me know!

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at August 6, 2010 10:26 AM
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